Scotland U17 In Valladolid: Week 2

Acclimatising to the heat and getting to grips with the all-round regime, the squad settle in for week two of their Spanish training experience...

Day 5
As the sun rose on a bright morning in Valladolid, the boys awoke and sauntered their way down to breakfast. The early start had taken a toll on most with not many attending early unless they were in the gym first thing. The gym has been an enjoyable experience with the help from the great coaches, Val and Derrick, one and all has been able to push themselves on and benefit greatly, especially with everyone's favourite, overhead squat! After the swim that everyone partakes in after the gym, the forwards had a prehab session, teaching us how to prevent injury. Lunch followed this - everyone had realised that this was one of the most important meals of the day as we had to refuel after the gym and get enough energy for the afternoon session. 

Today was different though - we got an afternoon off! So after we had handed in are training kit most people headed to the 'Supermercado' for some healthy and nutricious food. There was also a few shops to buy presents for loved ones. Robin had his eyes set on something different though, he wished for a necklace to remember the trip by, the mission was unaccomplished as Robin returned heartbroken. 
We arrived back at the hotel with Mario Kart in full throttle but most were soaking up the rays in the small garden next to the team room. For those of the fairer skin, a rest was on the cards as they retired to the rooms. Most had returned by half 6 so rehearsals were in full swing for 'Scotlands Got Talent' which was going to hit the screens on the last night of the trip.
For tea this evening we were being hosted by Verac Rugby Cub. As they have helped us enormously throughout the duration of the trip we had a few thank-yous to say and presented them with a signed strip and many other items for the work they have put in. The management team also got a present from them which was a delightful bottle of red from the winery we had visited on our day off. The night continued, sitting about talking about the wonderful tour we have had and sharing some of the best moments before we head west in a couple of days' time.

Day 4 
Everyone knew that today, like the previous ‘double rugby’ day, would be tough.  The morning was spent between the training pitch and the indoor track.  Everyone was very relieved to go inside to the air conditioning after the baking heat of outside.  Luckily, as always, we had a pool session to cool off.  To be honest, swimming comes easier to some than others and personally length is a bit of a struggle.  But no matter one’s ability, the recovery effect was felt by all.  The recuperation continued by the pool when we had some free time.  Some chose to use this time top up their ‘tan’ which in most cases was pure pink.
After the much appreciated afternoon siesta, we were put through a heavy contact session which was hellish in 36 degree heat, but really everyone enjoyed it – certainly beats Edinburgh on a cold November evening!
There was a relaxed tone to the evening as the table tennis and ‘connect 4’ championships got underway.  Naturally the management team got involved and early favourite, physio Jules, went out to the very much unfancied fitness coach Derrick. To be fair, the table did become something of an arena and excuses to do with ‘pressure’ rang out.  The more cerebral members of the squad thrived in counting to four and look forward with great anticipation to the final of both tournaments on Tuesday night. 
For those who are lucky enough to have a room mate who does not snore, a good night's sleep was had after a tiring day which ended in good spirits.

Day 3
"Once again the Scotland U17 squad had a testing and tiring day.  It began with the usual early morning wake up for breakfast.  Today for the first time we had a sprint session before the gym, with coach Derrick, which some coped with better than others! In the gym the emphasis was on back and leg work and this was followed by a pool recovery, which everyone now fully appreciates.  While most of the squad rested, the half backs were working hard on accuracy of pass and early hand catch.  After a big lunch the squad used their siesta time to good effect and squeezed in as much rest as possible.  At training, backs coach Alex Duncan introduced some new moves to the squad. Every player got a chance to run through them later in the evening when we analysed the video of the session and identified the key aspects of each of the moves which deepened everyones' understanding of what is required.
After the team meeting all the players went straight to bed as tomorrow was to be our second day of double rugby."

Day 2
"Another early start with breakfast at 8am followed by a speed session taken by Derrick focusing on running technique and the first heavy weights session in the gym.
Many of the lads were refreshed from the day off before but still slept in their time off between gym and lunch, if they didn’t have lineout practice or had to see Jules about injuries.
Lunch was followed by many peoples’ favourite part of the day - the siesta.  This rest was needed especially for the forwards who had a very tough contact session that night at training.
Just before we went to bed at 11.30pm, the game against the regional U19 team we played was projected onto the screen in the team room."

Week 2 - Day 1

"It was a slightly later start than normal, giving players a much welcomed extra half hour in bed after the game the night before.  After breakfast, we had a pool recovery session, led by Val, to ease up the aches and pains.  However afterwards, it was the dreaded ice baths – which seemed colder than usual.  
It was to be our ‘Cultural Visit’ day, which proved to be a welcome relief from rugby.  To fill the time between leaving the hotel and arriving at the first stop, we had a ‘Management Quiz’.  The winners are still unkown (much controversy surrounds this matter) in what was a very entertaining quiz – who’d have guessed that Val Houston used to driving 120 ton trucks for a living?!
The first stop was at ‘Villa del Libro’ – a small town dedicated to books, paper and literature.  Before the group split into forwards and backs, we were given cowboy hats and plenty of photos were taken.  First up was a tour of the town, walking along the paths and taking in majestic views on a clear day. Then it was off to the museum to hear about and watch videos on the history of paper, printing, books and writing.
The second last stop of the day was at an underground wine cellar to have lunch.  This proved to be a very interesting experience, finishing with a lunch of steak and pasta, however much to the disappointment of our host, we weren’t allowed to taste the wine.
After a very enjoyable lunch it was back to the hotel for pool session no 2 of the day.  The forwards game of ‘pool rugby ‘ quickly descended into full contact chaos, whereas the backs’ game could be compared with a game of netball.
After dinner, and changing room mates, we had a very brief team meeting before being treated to a wonderful ‘fullfight’ involving tape, bedsheets and blankets, to round off another enjoyable day."

"Everyone awoke on the Thursday morning excited for their first day off and cultural visit.  A recovery swim session followed a filling breakfast to aid the players recovery from the game the previous day.  Soon we were on the bus and were introduced to our guide Delores. The stop was book town, where Delores took us through the history of making paper and books, before we took a walk along the town’s outer wall.  
Unfortunately the next stop had to be missed as we were running late for lunch, which would take place in a wine cellar 50ft below the ground.  Before lunch we were shown round all the wine cellars by a true turbo lad.  It was very deep, dark and cold, which reminded everyone of home.  However the delicious steak reminded everyone we were in sunny Valladolid.  We returned to the hotel for another pool session to help us recover from what was a surprisingly tiring day."